In a world that is increasingly technology focussed, it’s no surprise that publishers are exploring new ways to become more interactive and to engage with readers. Dedicated websites supporting specific books and authors have long been used as a way of communicating with an audience online, but new innovations are springing up all the time.
‘Dead Man’s Time’ by Peter James is one such book. It includes an interesting new interactive feature that allows readers to use Blippar to access an interactive world straught from their smartphone app. Readers can then explore real locations where scenes of the book are set, following the characters’ progress as they read.
This is definitely one way of bringing books into the technological world, but will it gain authors any more readers? At the moment, this is more of an added bonus for people that have already bought the book than a necessity for winning over potential fans. I’d also be interested to see how many people use the feature. Are we meant to be using it to enrich the reading experience as we go along – pausing in the middle of a chapter to check out this virtual world? Or is it intended more as a novelty for fans to explore after we’ve finished – like J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore?
Ultimately, I think that including features like this will become increasingly common, as more and more people come to expect them, but in my opinion, it will probably be a while before this starts to have any real effect on sales.